58 Films to watch in 2016: Part 1

18 Jan 2016 BY Joe Ursell

5 mins
Hail, Caesar! still
Hail, Caesar! still

With 2015 being a record-breaking year for films, we cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store. From the all-female Ghostbusters, to Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar!.

Here's our film team's pick of the biggest films in cinemas from January to June.

Find out which July to December films releases got our film team talking in Part 2.


This is traditionally the time when many of the films vying for awards attention are released. Financial satire The Big Short, journalism drama Spotlight and The 33, a dramatisation of the 2010 Chilean miners accident, are amongst the starrier films competing for attention. Meanwhile, acclaimed Chinese martial arts drama The Assassin, animated adventure Capture The Flag and young adult sci-fi The 5th Wave will also be helping audiences banish the winter blues.


February kicks off with the eagerly anticipated first film in the hugely popular Goosebumps series, starring Jack Black. Patriotic laughs and World War Two will be at the centre of the big screen version of Dads Army, and awards season continues with Trumbo, a biopic of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who was blacklisted for alleged communist sympathies in the 1950s. Georgian society and horror film combine in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and charming Australian family drama Oddball and the Penguins promises to be Babe, with penguins substituting for pigs!


The Coen Brothers, two of the most distinctive filmmakers in Hollywood, return with Hail, Caesar!, an all-star musical comedy set around the production of a Hollywood biblical epic in the 1950s. The young adult Divergent saga continues with Allegiant, the first in a two-part finale. The world of animation is well served with the release of Kung Fu Panda 3 and Disney's Zootopia, which is set in a mammal filled metropolis and involves a rabbit cop and fox con man teaming up to solve a mystery case! Metropolises will also no doubt be under threat in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, which hopes to be the first in a long line of films set in the shared universe created by DC comics.


Taron Egerton looks to have another hit on his hands with underdog story Eddie the Eagle, about the hapless British ski jumper in the 1980s. The world of the Berlin nightclub is captured like never before in the exuberant Victoria, shot in just a single take over its entire 140-minute running time. A British teenager holidaying in the South of France begins to explore his sexuality in sensitive LGBT drama Departure, while Adam Driver follows up his turn in Star Wars with supernatural father and son drama Midnight Special. Blockbuster season begins with the first of two spectacular live action versions of The Jungle Book, as well as fairy tale sequel The Huntsman: Winters War. Captain America: Civil War kicks off phase 3 of Marvel's ongoing superhero saga, with a galaxy of old and new characters (including, if rumours are to be believed, Tom Hollands Spiderman). More down to earth dramas are promised in Sing Street, a hugely promising coming of age musical set in 1980s Dublin, from the director of Once. Finally, writer, critic and filmmaker Mark Cousins returns with I Am Belfast, a moving, personal profile of his home city and its complex history.


Mustang is an acclaimed drama about five orphaned sisters living in a remote Turkish village in a very strict and morally conservative society. By contrast, the world of anger management is explored like never before in bonkers animation Angry Birds, an adaptation of the popular game. A bewildering number of characters assemble in spectacular comic adventure X Men: Apocalypse, while the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat return in Alice Through The Looking Glass. Director Richard Linklater follows up Boyhood with low-key college comedy Everybody Wants Some, and Daniel Dafoe's Robinson Crusoe returns to the big screen, this time in animated form. For more serious fare, Oliver Stone's Snowden, a thriller about the leaking of classified government information in 2013 is bound to provoke discussion and controversy on all sides of the debate.


Historically, film adaptations of computer games have been fairly unsuccessful. But people expect fantasy action adventure Warcraft to change all that, mostly because it is directed by British filmmaker Duncan Jones, who previously made Moon, one of the most distinctive and original sci-fi films in decades. Continuing the science-fiction theme, the aliens are back in Independence Day: Resurgence, twenty years after the incredibly successful original. One of the most exciting animations of the year is The Secret Life of Pets, which involves an army of abandoned pets rising up together and taking revenge on all the world's happily-owned-pets and their owners!

Portrait picture of Joe Ursell

Joe Ursell, Film Curator

Joe has a BA in Film & American Studies from the University of East Anglia and an MA in Contemporary Cinema Cultures from King's College London. He has worked with the BFI London Film Festival and on the production of ITV documentary 56 Up.

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